From left, Pelham Regional Councillor Diana Huson, Seniors Advisory Committee Chair Sharon Cook, Pelham Town Councillors Wayne Olson, John Wink, Marianne Stewart, and Mayor Marvin Junkin. DON RICKERS

On Tuesday June 8, Pelham proudly raised a flag celebrating Ontario Seniors Month, and unveiled a seniors garden at the Meridian Community Centre.

“Pelham has a large seniors population, myself included,” Mayor Marvin Junkin said at the flag raising ceremony at Town Hall. “I am continuously amazed at the work our seniors do in the community, volunteering and spearheading so many great activities.”

Junkin also acknowledged the efforts of Sharon Cook, the chair of the Pelham Seniors Advisory Committee.

Pelham Regional Councillor Diana Huson told those in attendance that “seniors serve on a number of Town committees and give their time and dedication, their passion and expertise, to making our community a better place to live.”

She added that this year is especially important because seniors are facing isolation as a result of the pandemic, “and need a little more support and encouragement.”

The original inspiration for the seniors garden was to provide a place for outdoor gatherings and activities during unpredictable times. Brittany MacLean, Active Living Programmer for the Town, said in a press release that “the Seniors Advisory Committee felt that an outdoor garden to enjoy would be a great way to celebrate the seniors of Pelham,” and added that Pelham hopes to offer outdoor programs, socials, and events where the garden can be enjoyed when restrictions allow.

The garden is located in the Pelham Minor Hockey Courtyard, at the north side of the community centre, and a shade structure is to be installed soon to allow seniors to beat the heat during the summer months.

At the garden unveiling ceremony, Sharon Cook noted that “almost 20 percent of the population of this community is made up of seniors. That gives us a tremendous amount of power and influence…and we need to be using it! We have Town councillors here…so take heed!” she said to applause.

Cook couldn’t resist pointing out that “some men were involved [in the garden’s creation], but it was the women who did the work.” She underscored the involvement of the grey-haired cohort in Pelham, asking, “Where would we be without seniors in this community, to volunteers for the Legion, the Kinsmen, the Lions Club? It’s the seniors that are there holding it together.”

A calendar of events and available programs for local seniors can be found at www.pelham.ca/55-programs. Additional information is available by calling 905-892-2607, extension 372.